All about photo.com: photo contests, photography exhibitions, galleries, photographers, books, schools and venues.
Ofir Barak
Ofir Barak
Ofir Barak

Ofir Barak

Country: Israel

My name is Ofir Barak, I'm a photographer based here in Jerusalem.

I can honestly say that I have been an artistic person all my life. I started out as a painter and was very passionate about it from a very early age. In 2013 I was lacking the motivation to create I was frustrated and I decided to put it aside and look for a new path to express myself through art.

I needed to travel somewhere and clear my mind and look for answers. In order to move beyond my struggle, I needed to surround myself with every form of art I could find - literature, poetry, paintings, architecture - anything goes. I remembered that the museums in D.C have free admission, so I decided to go there. Each day I wandered into a different museum and enjoyed the art galleries. One day, accidentally, I entered an exhibition of a photographer from the wrong side - where people exit. I didn't know who the photographer was, but I was struck by his images.

At that moment, I had an epiphany - this is what I want to do. This is what I can do. I spent two hours at the gallery and realized that I just couldn't consume it all in once. I went back there three more times to learn about the photographer - Garry Winogrand and each time I focused on different photographs. In the exhibition there was also a small screening room showing his famous talk at Rice University. I took a notebook with me each visit and sat at the corner of the room - writing down what I want to achieve and how. After returning home, i decided to work on a first project of my own.

Between the years 2014 and 2017, I photographed constantly and on a weekly basis the neighborhood of Mea Shearim. I attended protests, holidays and weekdays tring to present a full documentation of a religious society here in Jerusalem. After 3 years and 15k pictures, a self published book was released under the title of "Mea Shearim - The streets".

The project was well received within the world of photography rewarding me a Magnum Photos prize for the street photograph of the year, and a nomination for a Hasselblad masters in 2018. Parts of the project were exhibited in different locations including the jewish museum in berlin, the Lucie foundation - Month of photography photo book exhibition in the Us and many others.

After completing this project, I have realized it has now become a starting point to a much larger project regarding religion in Jerusalem and a three parts books. The book is sold here at the event and if you liked the talk, feel free to take a look in the open copy and purchase one.


About the Streets of Mea Shearim

During the 1870s the city within the walls of Jerusalem were undergoing a serious crisis. An increase in population, especially in the Jewish quarter, resulted in high housing prices and poor sanitation.The Ottoman government failed to remove garbage dumps and eventually the pollution seeped into the water pits, causing a rise in disease and mortality rates among the population within the walls. This drove the Jewish community to establish neighborhoods outside the walls, and by 1873 four such neighborhoods were built - "Mishkenot Sha'ananim" (1880), "Mahane Israel" (1886), "Nahalat Shiva" (1869) and "Beit David" (1873).

A small group of about one-hundred young Ashkenazi Jews who believed that moving outside the walls would help them improve their standard of living, decided in 1874 to combine their resources. They were able to purchase a tract of land outside the walls for a new settlement. It would have one-hundred houses and would serve as the fifth neighborhood outside the city walls. The name which they chose for that piece of land, Mea Shearim, was derived from a verse in the Torah portion that was read in the week the neighborhood was founded: "Isaac sowed in that land, and in that year he reaped a hundredfold (Mea Shearim); God had blessed him" (Genesis 26:12).

Construction began around April 1874, by both Jewish and non-Jewish workers. Contractors, builders and plasterers were Christian Arabs from Bethlehem, and Jewish craftsmen also contributed. By December 1874, the first ten houses were standing. At first Mea Shearim was a courtyard neighborhood, surrounded by four walls with gates that were locked every evening. By October 1880, 100 apartments were ready for occupancy and a lottery was held to assign them to families. Between the years 1881 and 1917, more houses and neighborhoods were built. New neighborhoods surrounded Mea Shearim and helped establish a large Jewish presence outside the walls. By the turn of the century there were 300 houses, a flour mill, and a bakery.

Mandatory Palestine under British administration had been carved out of Ottoman southern Syria after World War I. The British civil administration in Palestine operated from 1920 until 1948. During its existence the country was known simply as Palestine. The British regime was welcomed by the residents of Mea Shearim, who maintained good relations with the authorities for the good of the neighborhood. As a result, access roads to the area were improved, the neighborhood markets prospered, old shops were renovated, and new shops opened. Mea Shearim continued to grow, and by 1931 it was the third largest neighborhood in Jerusalem. This growth enhanced the neighborhood's status and importance, but daily life became more difficult, as many of the houses were populated with a large number of people resulting in sanitary conditions that endangered their health. The neglect of the Ottoman regime continued to set the tone, and lack of proper drainage caused rain to flood the streets and even people homes. There was a rise in poverty, resulting not only in a deterioration of the houses outer appearance but also in a spread of diseases. The neighborhood's uniform appearance also began to change, as different kinds of constructions materials came into use, resulting in non-uniform façades. Cheap tin became an alternative to the Jerusalem stone commonly used for construction.

In 1948 the Arab-Israeli war broke out and Jerusalem was divided between two countries - Israel and Jordan. The border was very close to Mea Shearim and the neighborhood suffered from military attacks and damage to buildings. Within the next 20 years ,the neighborhood would suffer from decreasing population as the children of the second founding generation moved to orthodox neighborhoods nearby, leaving as few as 170 houses occupied out of a total of 304. In later years the residents returned and the population grew once again. The population remained isolated and segregated, because it refused to cooperate with the government of Israel. Street posters (Pashkvilim) began to appear on a public walls calling on residents not to serve in the Israeli army, not to vote or be elected to the Israeli parliament, and not to participate in Israel's Independence Day celebrations.

Today, Mea Shearim remains loyal to its old customs and preserves its isolation in the heart of Jerusalem while trying to stave off the modern world; it is, in a way, frozen in time. The numerous renovations of houses at the end of the 20th century hardly affected the appearance of the neighborhood. They are still common today but fewer in numbers. Houses that were built over one hundred years ago stand alongside a few new ones. The life of the Hasidic community still revolves around strict adherence to Jewish law, prayer, and the study of Jewish religious texts. The large majority of the people are Ashkenazim; there are hardly Sephardic Jews in the neighborhood. In addition to some well-to-do family there are also many needy ones, which are helped by local charity institutions. The traditional dress code remains in effect here; for men and boys it includes black frock coats and black hats. Long, black beards cover their faces and many of them grow side curls called "payots".Women and girls are urged to wear what is considered to be modest dress - knee-length or longer skirts, no plunging necklines or midriff tops, no sleeveless blouses or bare shoulders. Some women wear thick black stockings all year long, and married women wear a variety of hair coverings, from hats to wigs and headscarves. The common language of daily communication in Mea Shearim is Yiddish, in contrast to the Hebrew spoken by the majority of Israel's Jewish population. Hebrew is used by the residents only for prayer and religious study, as they believe that Hebrew is a sacred language to be used only for religious purposes.

This is the story of the ongoing battle between the old and the new, the past versus the present, this is the everyday life of a city within a city.

My grandmother and I had a special bond.

We developed a habit that once a week, usually on Mondays, we cleared our schedule and sat down to discuss the photographs I took. We talked the stories behind the photos, the people, even how the weather affected the light in the pictures. At first, photography was something foreign for both of us and with time, we developed a passion for it. We loved our gatherings and anticipated them every week. In early 2014 things changed, we had fewer opportunities for our weekly routine as her health had begun to deteriorate. She received treatments on a weekly basis and eventually had to be under medical supervision and hospitalized. On one of the visits as I sat by her bed, I wanted to ease her mind from the treatments she received and asked if she would like to see a photograph I took the day before. She immediately said yes and was very enthused when I showed her the photograph. We ended up taking and analyzing the photo as we used to, freeing our minds from the hospital room we were in. Neither of us knew that it would be our last time together.

After her death, I decided to do a project based on the last photograph she ever saw. This one photo has led me on a journey, photographing the streets of Mea Shearim.

Discover The Christians of Jerusalem
 

Inspiring Portfolios

Call for Entries
$10,000 Cash Prizes
All About Photo Awards 2023 - Enter Your Best Single Images
 
Stay up-to-date  with call for entries, deadlines and other news about exhibitions, galleries, publications, & special events.

More Great Photographers To Discover

Mario Algaze
Cuba / United States
1947
Mario Algaze (born 1947 in Havana, Cuba) is a Cuban-American photographer whose work celebrates the culture of Latin America. At the age of thirteen he was forced to exile Cuba in 1960 and relocated to Miami, Florida. Miami offered a rich cultural mecca and a vibrant melting pot of culture which encouraged him to travel to Central and South America where he worked as a freelance photojournalist for national and international publications. These trips allowed him a glimpse of belonging within a familiar culture. In finding his identity after exile, he began photographing Latin America in the 1970’s while reconnecting with the feeling of home. His photographs embody the everyday of Latin life. Between his travels in the late 70’s, Algaze studied visual art at Miami Dade College. Algaze’s masterful command of light illuminates his street scenes that detail the struggles and victories of Latin culture. Mario Algaze is the recipient of various acclaimed awards, including the Florida Artist Fellowship from the Florida Arts Council (1985), the Cintas Foundation Fellowship in Photography (1991), the Visual Arts Fellowship and the SAF Artist Fellowship sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts. In 1992, he received the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Photography. A retrospective collection of his work is showcased in the important monograph, Mario Algaze: Portfolio, published by Di Puglia Publisher, 2010. Additional monographs by the artist include, Mario Algaze: Portafolio Latinamericano, Mario Algaze: Cuba 1999-2000, and A Respect for Light: The Latin American Photographs: 1974-2008. Algaze's documentary work is highly sought after by institutions and collectors worldwide. His work can be found in permanent collections at every corner of the world including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Museo Tamayo, Mexico City; Santa Barbara Museum; Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego; Victoria and Albert Museum, London, DePaul University, Chicago and the Cleveland Museum of Art.Source: PDNB Gallery Mario Algaze was born in Havana, Cuba but emigrated to the United States in 1960, settling in Miami, Florida. In 1971, at the age of 24, he began a career as a freelance photojournalist. Although Algaze left Cuba as a teenager he has frequently turned to Latin America as the subject of his photographs, traveling extensively throughout the region. In his carefully composed black and white photographs, he captures people alone or in small groups on the streets and in cafes and parks. Many of his photographs of these everyday settings are infused with a soft light and marked by shadows, giving them a serene or mysterious quality, or evoking the passage of time. The region's conflicts and political activities, frequent subjects of photojournalism, are largely absent in his imagery; instead, he lends quiet insight into the cultural diversity of Latin America and the shape of daily life in countries as far spread as Mexico, Ecuador, and Argentina.Source: Museum of Contemporary Photography
John Kenny
United Kingdom
In 2006 I developed my style of portrait photography within traditional communities, heavily influenced by the dramatic pictures of chiaroscuro artists. Chiaroscuro is an Italian term which literally means light-dark. Back then, at the very start of my Africa journey, I was buzzing with energy having met people of real magnetism just days into my trip. I was excited by extraordinary people and fascinating cultures and wondered how I could possibly communicate and express these feelings of excitement to friends and family back home.The solution, I imagined, would involve abstracting the remarkable from the not so remarkable: put simply, I felt that the vibrant and intense individuals that I had met in traditional communities would best show their magnetism on camera when they were removed from the (often) dull and dusty backgrounds of their immediate environment. After a few days I started to imagine each of these people in front of me emerging from the nothingness of darkness, with no distractions, hoping that this would provide a real feeling of proximity between the viewer and the person in the picture. I made a conscious decision at that time to leave a more documentary style of environmental portraiture to others. Practicing this new technique in remote African villages in 2006 I had nothing but sunshine and a hut available as a great ‘open studio': so I used these parameters and started experimenting (I've never really liked flash anyway). So it's simply the illumination of natural sunlight, and sun on dry earth, that reaches into the darkness of huts and lights up these remarkable people. Sun and dry earth are the only ingredients required for the lighting in my prints. And of course, you also need to find exceptional people!Falling in love with photography, and the origins of this series:I first fell in love with photography around 2003. I had not been fortunate enough to receive an art or photography education, but I knew back then, when I picked up my first SLR camera, that I had found the perfect way to express myself. Every time I had the camera in my hand I was looking to improve, needing to know what everything and anything looked like once it had been through the photographic process. It was a bit like a mad pursuit of alchemy - throwing everything into the mix to see if any magic came out of the other side. The process of photographic learning is very rarely a simple one, but to me it remains beautiful: discoveries, experimentation and seeing for the first time how a camera distorts and enhances the world.In Africa I seem to have made it my goal to travel through some of the remotest areas of the continent where the reaches of urbanisation and 21st century living are barely detectable. Looking back, this wasn’t my intention when I first arrived there in 2006, but somehow I keep returning to Africa to photograph because I'm fascinated to encounter societies that are able to survive in some of the most arid, isolated and difficult environments that people have settled in. If you haven’t visited these places then the reality of living is not nearly as romantic or idealised as one might imagine. Life takes place against a backdrop of very uncertain resources and enormous hardships, but traditions and hospitality towards outsiders remain intact.I specifically chose to photograph the individuals that you see in these galleries because I had a very real sense of wonder when I met them. Each one of these people had something that attracted me, sometimes a piercing intensity, or an uncommon beauty, that I felt compelled to try and capture. It’s true that I photograph for myself, first and foremost, but a close second is my desire to show others this magnetism that draws one into the eyes of these fascinating people.I have usually travelled alone or with a guide on these journeys, along the way walking and hopping onto overloaded vehicles of every kind to head to remote settlements. Often the destination is a transient, weekly market where hundreds of vibrant, colourful people assemble somewhat incongruously against a dull, dusty backdrop for a few hours. Later in the day they will all melt away with their animals and traded possessions, until the location is again a patch of bone-dry ground with almost nothing to separate it from the rest of the featureless land that typifies much of the African Sahel. It is fascinating to observe this process play out in almost exactly the same way across countless African countries, many of which are separated by hundreds or thousands of miles across this huge continent’s surface.My favourite tools are sharp prime lenses and cameras that let you capture the tiniest pieces of detail: whilst these details may be insignificant alone, when aggregated I feel they help paint the picture of the environment and how each person adapts to theirs.My favourite series of work remains the Northern Kenya series which involved 6 weeks of intense travelling with my guide, Mo, across remote areas without a vehicle and often without any semblance of an idea how to get to the next tiny settlement. The trip was full of unique encounters in locations that seemed to be famous, to me at least, as places where no transport seemed to be heading. On one particular occasion we came across a lone Moran (warrior) emerge into the dawn light, miles from anywhere. He seemed like a mirage: a vibrant vision in pink cloth and bright colourful jewellery, and more acutely so when set against the hazy yellow monotone of land that he emerged from. Even for Northern Kenya, I thought he seemed to be in a remote, featureless location: devoid of any water, and within an hour it would again be blistering hot. Despite these uncomfortable realities - which clearly weighed more heavily on my mind than his - the warrior seemed confident of his bearings and stopped for a moment to exchange pleasantries with Mo and I. A couple of minutes later, after sharing cigarette with my guide, he purposefully set off walking again, to God knows where. This place that looked barren and foreboding, to me at least, was clearly his home.
John Rankin
United Kingdom
1966
Synonymous with compelling portraiture, Rankin's lens captures, creates and unveils icons. Rankin made his name in publishing, founding the seminal monthly magazine Dazed & Confused with Jefferson Hack in 1992. It provided a platform for innovation for emerging stylists, designers, photographers and writers. The magazine went on to forge a distinctive mark in the arts and publishing spheres, and developed a cult status by forming and moulding trends, and bringing some of the brightest lights in fashion to the foreground. Rankin has created landmark editorial and advertising campaigns. His body of work features some of the most celebrated publications, biggest brands and pioneering charities, including Nike, Swatch, Dove, Pantene, Diageo, Women's Aid, and Breakthrough Breast Cancer. He has shot covers for Elle, German Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Esquire, GQ, Rolling Stone and Wonderland. His work has always endeavoured to question social norms and ideas of beauty and, in late 2000, Rankin published the heteroclite quarterly Rank, an experimental anti-fashion magazine celebrating the unconventional. In 2001, Jefferson and Rankin launched AnOther Magazine. With a focus on fashion, originality, and distinction. In response to the expanding menswear market, in 2005 AnOther Man was introduced, combining intelligent editorial with groundbreaking design and style. More recently, the Dazed Group has established itself as an online authority, via AnOthermag.com, Dazeddigital.com and Dazedtv.com. Rankin celebrated Dazed & Confused's 20th anniversary, shooting 20 front covers of Dazed favourites and 20 inside covers of the next generation of talent, for the December 2011 issue. Tapping into the consciousness of the 90s and 00s with his intimate approach and playful sense of humour, Rankin became known for his portraiture of bands, artists, supermodels and politicians. Having photographed everyone from the Queen of England to the Queen of Pop, Rankin is often seen as a celebrity photographer. However, his plethora of campaigns and projects featuring 'real women' marked him out as a genuinely passionate portrait photographer, no matter who the subject. Always pursuing personal projects which push his limits, high impact charity projects, and groundbreaking commercial campaigns, Rankin has stood out for his creative fearlessness. His first major worldwide and award-winning campaign - Dove's 'Real Women' - epitomised his approach: to reveal the honesty of the connection and collaborative process between photographer and subject. Personal or commercial, Rankin's images have become part of contemporary iconography, evidence of his frankness and passion for all aspects of modern culture, and its representation in the photographed image. Rankin has published over 30 books, is regularly exhibited in galleries around the world, as well as his own London gallery. His museum-scale exhibition Show Off opened at NRW Dusseldorf in September 2012, pulling in over 30,000 visitors in 3 months. In the last few years, he has frequently turned his hand to studies of photography through TV presenting. Working with the BBC, he has featured in a number of seminal documentaries - The Seven Photographs that Changed Fashion, South Africa in Pictures, Shooting the Stars, The Life Magazine Photographers and most recently, an in-depth documentary into the modern approach to death in, Alive: In the Face of Death. His affiliation with charities has seen Rankin travel the world, creating powerful campaigns both as a photographer and a director. With Oxfam, he visited the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Kenya, and in 2011 hosted an Oxglam exhibition, featuring work from some of the world's most talented emerging young photographers, and raising money for the charity. 2013 sees a planned trip to Jordan and Lebanon with Oxfam. In 2009, Rankin undertook the biggest project of his career - Rankin Live, a mammoth, interactive spectacle and exhibition. Always interested in the democratisation of the image, and also a keen advocate of the amazing digital advances of the photographic industry, Rankin Live was the culmination of the accessibility and speed of modern photography. Rankin proved that everyone can look like a magazine cover star as, for 7 straight weeks, he photographed people off the street, one every 15 minutes - retouching, printing and hanging the image within half an hour of the shutter being fired. Rankin photographed over 1600 Londoners, before then taking Rankin Live on tour in Mexico and New York. In 2011, Rankin Film Productions was born. Rankin developed a taste for film directing music videos, commercials, and short films with co-director Chris Cottam between 2002 and 2009, including their debut feature film, The Lives of Saints. Written by Toni Grisoni (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas), it won the grand jury prize at the Salento International Film Festival. Since 2009, Rankin has continued to direct independently on both commercial and personal projects. Taking on the new role of Executive Producer, Rankin recently founded Collabor8te, in association with The Bureau and Dazed TV. Collabor8te calls on scriptwriters and directors to submit their ideas for narrative film, promising to turn a selection of these dreams into a reality, producing them, featuring them on Dazed TV, and running them on the international film festival circuit. In November 2011, Rankin returned to magazine publishing with a fresh offering - The Hunger. A biannual fashion, culture and lifestyle magazine, The Hunger and its associated Hunger TV website - a video-based digital platform featuring in-depth interviews, fashion films, blogs, updates, and previews - marked Rankin's return to the fashion world with an understanding that the future is not only printed but digital too. Rankin lives in London with his wife, Tuuli, and son, Lyle.
Liu Bolin
China
1973
Liu Bolin is an artist born in China’s Shandong province in 1973, and he earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Shandong College of Arts in 1995 and his Master of Fine Arts from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing in 2001. His work has been exhibited in museums around the world. Also known as "The Invisible Man", Liu Bolin's most popular works are from his "Hiding in the City" series; photographic works that began as performance art in 2005. Liu belongs to the generation that came of age in the early 1990s, when China emerged from the rubble of the Cultural Revolution and was beginning to enjoy rapid economic growth and relative political stability. Since his first solo shows in Beijing in 1998, Liu Bolin’s work has received international recognition. Among other international venues, his distinctive photographs and sculptures have been shown at the major contemporary photography festival Les Rencontres d'Arles and he had solo shows at Dashanzi Art Zone in Beijing (2007), Galerie Bertin-Toublanc in Paris (2007), Eli Klein Fine Art in New York (2008), Galerie Paris-Beijing in Paris and Brussels (2013), Boxart Gallery in Verona (2008), Forma Foundation for Photography in Milan (2010). To celebrate US President Obama's visit to China, he made an effigy of Obama in his honor. He now lives and works in Beijing, China. Source: Wikipedia Born in 1973 in the northern province of Shandong, Liu Bolin trained at the prestigious Central Academy of Fine Arts, a student of the renowned artist Sui Jianguo, who mentored him at the beginning of his career. Liu belongs to the generation that came of age in the early 1990s, when China emerged from the rubble of the Cultural Revolution and was beginning to enjoy rapid economic growth and relative political stability. Liu Bolin is best known for his series of performance photography Hiding in the City. Since his first solo shows in Beijing in 1998, Liu Bolin’s work has received international recognition. Among other international venues, his distinctive photographs and sculptures have been shown at the major contemporary photography festival Les Recontres d'Arles and he had solo shows at Dashanzi Art Zone in Beijing (2007), Galerie Bertin-Toublanc in Paris (2007), Eli Klein Fine Art in New York (2008), Boxart Gallery in Verona (2008/2010). He now lives and works in Beijing. Source: Box Art Gallery Better known as The Invisible Man in media circles. He discusses the social concerns of his home country through his artistic practice, most prominently through his ‘camouflage’ installations. Traversing mediums such as performance, photography, Liu Bolin dissects the tense relationship between the individual and society by ‘disappearing’ into environments which are sites of contention and criticism. His “Hiding in the City” series has been displayed in numerous museums and institutions across the globe. Inspired by his powerful visual messages, artists and institutions and organizations such The Louvre (Paris, France), Harper’s Bazaar Magazine, JR, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Jon Bon Jovi and Kenny Scharf have invited Liu Bolin to collaborate on creative projects.Source: Liu Bolin Studio
Robert Rutöd
Robert Rutöd was born 1959 in Vienna, Austria. Early pursuit of painting; from 1978 on photography. Works from these years later appeared with some of his absurd texts in the book grayscales. early b&w photographs 1978-1988. Between 1979 and 1993, Robert Rutöd wrote screenplays and directed short films. In the mid-90s, he increasingly devoted himself to the design of books and applications for digital media. In 2004 he returned to photography; since 2009, he presents these images to a wider audience. In his projects, Robert Rutöd investigates the paradox Human with its sometimes tragicomic aspects. In 2009 the photo book Less Is More resulted from that and three years later, the series Right Time Right Place has been finished. For this he received several awards including the New York Photo Award 2012, the Special Prize of the Czech Center of Photography, and most recently Artist of the Year at Dong Gang International Photo Festival in South Korea. In 2017 he completed his series Fair(y) Tales, retelling an almost ten-year expedition through the burlesque realm of trade fairs and exhibition areas. Rutöd’s photographs have been shown worldwide at numerous photography festivals and exhibitions; his work has been widely published in magazines and on blogs. Robert Rutöd lives and works in Vienna. (Source: Robert Rutöd Website) Right Time Right PlaceBeing at the right place at the right time is usually associated with happiness and success. But what happens when we are at the right place at the wrong time? Do we even know that this is the right place? And what if it turns out that it is the wrong place after all? But the right time! “Right Time Right Place” is a collection of photographs I made in the last five years on my travels through Europe. The images revolve around the question of whether it is possible for a person to be in the right place at the right time. Is the ideal state of space and time something we are awarded or is it a state we have long been living in without being aware of our good fortune? I hope I have not succeeded in answering this question. Nothing fails more pathetically than an artist’s attempt to explain the world and its relationships. Rather, my work leads to the conclusion that the world cannot be explained. Once an exhibition visitor in New York told me that, when viewing my photos, she felt that the protagonists seemed to be kind of disobedient. I really liked that interpretation. "What Robert Rutöd brings to the contemporary photographic dialogue is that intangible ability to see the world with a skewed lens - a lens that is compassionate and at the same time, unkind. It is a lens that is the stuff of operas and nightmares, comedies and slapstick. Robert finds that split second of humor or truth telling and that instant of social documentation or absurdity that makes us not only laugh at ourselves, but also laugh and feel embarrassed all at the same time. Or should I say, at The Right Time." (Aline Smithson, from the foreword to the book „Right Time Right Place“) “Right Time Right Place” was awarded the Special Prize of the Czech Center of Photography at the Photo Annual Awards 2012. A photo from the series won the New York Photo Award 2012 in the category Fine Art. Exclusive Interview with Robert Rutöd:AAP: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer?At a certain point I can't remember. I guess, at the moment when I was pleased with my photographs.AAP: Where did you study photography?I'm self-taught...AAP: How long have you been a photographer?In total, maybe twenty years, with shorter and a long breaks and also a hiatus for more than ten years.AAP: Do you remember your first shot? What was it?Tough question, my very first photographs were still largely staged. That reminds me of the corpse of a young man, with countless clothespins on the upper body, or a self-portrait in which I am seen with a pair of shoes on my shoulders.AAP: How could you describe your style?Style is not something that you choose; it happens, to a certain extent, over time. In photography, a signature style is often more difficult to discover, sort of like in painting. A graphologist might interpret my works thusly: "Easy to read, no scrawling, he's going on rapidly and purposefully in problem-solving and asks the right questions at the right moment." I could then add: "Regarding the content, rather puzzling over long distances."AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film?One digital camera, one good lens.AAP: What or who inspires you?Since my work is not staged, I'm only inspired when the photographic event unfolds before my eyes, a reverse brainstorming so to speak.AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images?Yes, to edit my own photographs is sometimes a lengthy process. The pictures have to go through some tests to be integrated into an ongoing project. This decision-making is sometimes damn hard to reach; it helps to let a few weeks or even months pass.AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer?Not to listen to any advice...AAP: What mistake should a young photographer avoid?None! Because there is no such thing as error, in fact, and consequently no recipe for success.AAP: Your best memory as a photographer?A fair for undertakers and the fashion show taking place there, including a coffin on the stage.AAP: Your worst souvenir as a photographer?The cluelessness of so many "experts."AAP: If you could have taken the photographs of someone else who would it be?I am satisfied so far with my work, as I want to get into the skin of others. Of course there's truly great work that I would like to see in my portfolio, "Royal Harare Golf Club" by Martin Parr for example, one or two pictures by Helen Levitt.AAP: An idea, a sentence, a project you would like to share?First the bad news: The publication date of my book "Milky Way" has been moved to next year. Now the good: I'm very happy about the positive echo that my series "Right Time Right Place" caused since its release about a year ago, including my participation in festivals in Los Angeles, Copenhagen, Delhi, or recently at the Miami Street Photography Festival. In January 2014, my project will be a solo exhibition to be seen. “eigensinnig“ (stubborn) is the name of the new gallery in Vienna, whose founder Toni Tramezzini, is aiming to show something that is rarely seen in this city: something that's not serial, not conceptual, not staged photography.
Gilles Nicolet
France
1960
I am a self-taught photographer who spent 35 years living and working in Africa, with long stays in Somalia, West Africa and Tanzania. I started out as an agricultural engineer but soon switched to photography in order to follow an old passion. I have since shot numerous stories for all sorts of magazines, including the Sunday Times Magazine, National Geographic Magazine, Geo, the Smithsonian and Paris-Match. I have a special interest in anthropology and ethnography, something that - I hope - has helped me capture the essence of my subjects. In the past most of my stories where about rare traditions that somehow linked man and wildlife, but Africa has changed a lot in the last few decades and unfortunately most of these traditions have now disappeared. My recent work has therefore been more personal and contemplative and less focused on narrative picture stories meant for magazines. In fact, today my interest lies in the convergence between art and documentary photography. I have also moved away from color photography and now only shoot in black and white. My work has received several major awards, including a World Press Photo Award and a Fuji Award. My latest project on the Swahili Coast also obtained the following recognitions: 2017 HIPA Hamdan International Photography Awards - 2nd Prize, Portfolio Category 2017 Elliott Erwitt Havana Fellowship - Nominee 2017 Seventh Annual Exposure Photography Awards - Winner 2017 IPA International Photography Awards - 2nd Prize, People/Culture Category 2017 Meitar Award - Nominee 2017 Monochrome Photography Awards - Photojournalism/Professional - Two Honorable Mentions 2017 Monochrome Photography Awards - People/Professional - Honorable Mention 2018 CAP Contemporary African Photography Prize - Finalist 2018 SIPA Contest - Honorable Mention 2019 SOPHOT Award - Winner This work on the Swahili Coast is featured in "Swahili", a book released by Contrejour Publishers in May 2019 (available on amazon.fr and amazon.co.uk). Six degrees south The Zanzibar archipelago, an highly evocative name even for those who are quite unable to locate it on a map, lies six degrees south of the Equator. It is also the exact geographical center of the Swahili Coast, a unique physical, historical and cultural entity running from Southern Somalia to Mozambique, which first grew in the 10th century through trade with the Arab world, India and China. Gold, coconut, ebony, mangrove wood, sisal, myrrh and the infamous slave trade helped make the wealth of this region, slowly shaping it and giving it its unique present character. For a thousand years now, wooden dhows have sailed these lonely shores, with their characteristic white cotton sails, using the monsoon winds to help traders move goods between Africa and Arabia. And for a thousand years too, fishermen have ploughed these rich seas for their bounty of fish, contributing with the traders to the emergence of rich city-ports like Stone Town or Mombasa. But all of this is changing now. A combination of overfishing by both local and foreign ships, population increase, changes in weather patterns as well as the recent discovery of huge gas fields in the region, is threatening this fragile equilibrium. The fishing communities that occupy these shores are particularly at risk, and it could be that we are now witnessing the last of fishing and sailing traditions that had remained largely unchanged since Ibn Battuta, the famous 12th Century Arab explorer, first described them in his travel memoirs. With this recent work I have tried to testify to the unique beauty and timelessness of the Swahili Coast, and to record it for generations to come. It is a personal, melancholic, sometimes dreamy vision of a place and a culture that are very dear to my heart but which, I now realise, may soon disappear.
Advertisement
All About Photo Awards 2023
March 2023 Online Solo Exhibition
All About Photo Awards 2023

Latest Interviews

Exclusive Interview with Patrick Cariou
For more than 25 years, French photographer Patrick Cariou has traveled to places around the globe, documenting people living on the fringes of society. Whether photographing surfers, gypsies, Rastafarians or the rude boys of Kingston, Cariou celebrates those who meet the struggles of life with honor, dignity and joy. Bringing together works from his groundbreaking monographs including Surfers, Yes Rasta, Trenchtown Love and Gypsies, Patrick Cariou: Works 1985–2005 (published by Damiani) takes us on a scenic journey around the world, offering an intimate and captivating look at cultures that distance themselves from the blessings and curses of modernity.
Exclusive Interview with Niko J. Kallianiotis
Niko J. Kallianiotis' Athênai in Search of Home (published by Damiani) presents photos taken in and around Athens, the city in which he grew up. The images reflect the artist's eagerness to assimilate back into a home that feels at once foreign and familiar. Throughout the years the city and the surrounding territories have experienced their share of socio-economic struggles and topographic transformations that have altered its identity. The city of Athens in Kallianiotis' photographs is elliptically delineated as a vibrant environment that binds together luxury and social inequality. The photographer depicts a city in which the temporal and the spatial elements often clash with each other while conducting his research for a home that has changed over the years as much as he did.
Exclusive Interview with Ave Pildas
My new book STAR STRUCK focuses on the people and places of Hollywood Boulevard. Soon after I moved to Los Angeles in the '70s, I started shooting there. I was working at Capital Records, just a block and a half away, as a one of four art directors. At lunchtime, we would go out to eat at the Brown Derby, Musso, and Franks, or some other local restaurant, and I got to observe all the activity that was occurring on Hollywood Boulevard. It was amazing and it was fun, even though the location was ''on the turn''.
Exclusive Interview with Elaine Mayes
In The Haight-Ashbury Portraits, 1967-1968 (published by Damiani) during the waning days of the Summer of Love, Elaine Mayes embarked on a set of portraits of youth culture in her neighborhood. Mayes was a young photographer living in San Francisco during the 1960s. She had photographed the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 and, later that year the hippie movement had turned from euphoria to harder drugs, and the Haight had become less of a blissed-out haven for young people seeking a better way of life than a halfway house for runaway teens.
Exclusive Interview with Theophilus Donoghue
A new release, Seventy-thirty (published by Damiani) depicts humanity's various faces and expressions, from metropolitans to migrants, unseen homeless to celebrities such as Robert De Niro, Muhammad Ali, Rene Magritte, Janis Joplin, and Andy Warhol. Steve Schapiro photographs early New York skateboarders while Theophilus Donoghue documents current Colombian breakdancers. Alternately profound and playful, father and son's photographs capture a vast range of human emotions and experiences. For this project, Schapiro selected images from the 60s civil rights movement and, with Donoghue, provided photos from today's Black Lives Matter protests and environmental rallies.
Exlusive Interview with Jessica Todd Harper about her Book Here
Like 17th-century Dutch painters who made otherwise ordinary interior scenes appear charged with meaning, Pennsylvania-based photographer Jessica Todd Harper looks for the value in everyday moments. Her third monograph Here (Published by Damiani) makes use of what is right in front of the artist, Harper shows how our unexamined or even seemingly dull surroundings can sometimes be illuminating
Exclusive Interview with Roger Ballen about his Book Boyhood
In Boyhood (published by Damiani) Roger Ballen's photographs and stories leads us across the continents of Europe, Asia and North America in search of boyhood: boyhood as it is lived in the Himalayas of Nepal, the islands of Indonesia, the provinces of China, the streets of America. Each stunning black-and-white photograph-culled from 15,000 images shot during Ballen's four-year quest-depicts the magic of adolescence revealed in their games, their adventures, their dreams, their Mischief. More of an ode than a documentary work, Ballen's first book is as powerful and current today as it was 43 years ago-a stunning series of timeless images that transcend social and cultural particularities.
Exclusive Interview with Kim Watson
A multi-dimensional artist with decades of experience, Kim Watson has written, filmed, and photographed subjects ranging from the iconic entertainers of our time to the ''invisible'' people of marginalized communities. A highly influential director in music videos' early days, Watson has directed Grammy winners, shot in uniquely remote locations, and written across genres that include advertising, feature films for Hollywood studios such as Universal (Honey), MTV Films, and Warner Brothers, and publishers such as Simon & Schuster. His passionate marriage of art and social justice has been a life-long endeavor, and, in 2020, after consulting on Engagement & Impact for ITVS/PBS, Kim returned to the streets to create TRESPASS, documenting the images and stories of LA's unhoused. TRESPASS exhibited at The BAG (Bestor Architecture Gallery) in Silver Lake, Los Angeles, September 17, 2022 – October 11, 2022.
Exclusive Interview with Julia Dean, Founder of the L.A. Project
Julia Dean, Founder of the Los Angeles Center of Photography, and its executive director for twenty-two years, began The L.A. Project in 2021. A native Nebraskan, Julia has long sought to create a special project where love for her adopted L.A., and her passion for documentary photography can be shared on a grander scale.
Call for Entries
All About Photo Awards 2023
Win $10,000 Cash Prizes & International Press